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public worship; but thinks a bare leaning upon Christ for salvation will save him. Or when he imagines he has nothing more to do but to come nnto Christ just as he is; to carry nothing with him but his sins, in order that they may be washed away by the blood of the lamb; I say, ivhen this is the case, we must pronounce him to be in a dangerous situation, or else allow that the gospel contradicts itself.
The language of scripture is, " Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins," which implies that we are not to come unto Christ by a bare belief in his merits only, but we must bring our repentance along with us. And our repentance must be sincere too, such as is proved by a reformation of life and manners. And, when we have done all, we must acknowledge ourselves unprofitable servants; that we have done that which was our duty to do, and not arrogate the least merit to ourselves; but allow all the merit to be in Christ.
Another inference is, that we take care to be of the number of those faithful whom Christ will take with him into glory, when he comes to judge the world. For as we must all appear, in the day of judgment, before a most awful tribunal, to answer for every action and most secret thought; and as we know not how soon Ave shall be called off this earthly stage, it must be of the greatest importance to us to be prepared for the coming of our blessed Master, by a true faith, productive of good works.
The faithful Christian, that "staggers not at the promises of God through unbelief" shall then meet witti a most glorious reward from a righteous Judge, who hath promised him a crown of life i
But the wicked sinner, who hath slighted the terms of salvation, and neglected the day of grace, shall be doomed to eternal misery.
Let the sinner then, whoever he is, consider this, and be wise before it be too late; let hmt lay aside his contempt of God and religion, and be assured that what St. Paul says is trne—" The just shall live tyfuith." Purify, therefore, your hearts by faith: have faith in God, and be persuaded, that what God hath promised he is faithful to perform; and this will lead you to renounce the world and its enjoyments; to set your affections upon things above; to endure the seeming hardships of viitue, for the unseen, though promised joys of heaven; and lead you at last to the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
2 Corinthians, vii. 9.
AW 1 rejoice, not that ye mere made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance.
In order to find out the occasion of these words, we will look into the context, where we shall find that St. Paul (in the foregoing chapter) had wrote a very affectionate epistle to the Corinthians, wherein he informed them of the many sufferings he and his fellow labourers in the gospel underwent for the truth of what they had preached; and having exhorted them to purity of life, is informed by Titus, whom he meets at Macedonia, that it had so good an effect upon them, as to produce a godly sorrow in their minds, which led them to repentance.
Their godly sorrow led them to be more watchful and circumspect over their lives and actions; they examined themselves, were sorry for their evil doings, and their sorrow was godly, which produced a reformation.
And this will appear very plain to any one who reads this epistle, from whence my text is taken. At the 11th verse are these words: "For behold, this self same thing that ye sorrowed tifter a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what, fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, ichat zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things you have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
As if he had said, " It appears very evident, that your sorrow was of a godly sort, because it made you more carefuf of yourselves in your lives and actions. You divested yourselves of every evil to which you had been before addicted; and, with indignation, condemned yourselves for your past follies. You dreaded the vengeance of God, which you knew you then justly deserved, therefore you earnestly desired to be renewed in Christ, and were passionately desirous of the glory of God, and your own welfare. All these instances of a sincere repentance,) make it very clear that yon are truly sorry for your sins."
"Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that ys sorrowed to repentance."
Having thus opened my text, 1 proceed now, in the
First place, To shew the true nature of repentance.
Secondly, To remove some prevailing mistakes about it. And
Lastly, conclude with some proper inferences. F